Heikki Kovalainen has been handed the seat left vacant by his country-man Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen announced earlier this week that he would not be competing at the upcoming United States and Brazilian Grands Prix as he must undergo back surgery for an injury that has affected him since before the Singapore Grand Prix.
Initially, it was thought that Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi would step up to the plate and fill in for the two races. However, Lotus peculiarly proclaimed that they would not put their reserve driver, whose purpose is to fill in for a driver should he not be able to race, in the car. This left Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg as the top man for the job, but he eventually declined the offer as Sauber would have been left scrabbling for a replacement for the German.
Next up, Lotus knocked on the door of Michael Schumacher, who last year retired for the second time after an unsuccessful three-year return to the sport. He also turned Lotus down. Schumacher was also called on in 2009 to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari following his horrific accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but he was also ruled out due to a small neck injury as a result of a motorbike crash.
Finally, Lotus turned to former McLaren and Caterham driver, who drove for Caterham when they were named Lotus. Kovalainen, who runs occasional FP1 runs for Caterham accepted the drive.
The pressure will be on Heikki to see if he can showcase his worth for next season. Although not impressing during his McLaren years, he was consistently regarded as the fastest back-marker. Alternatively, Hulkenberg is the most likely man to partner Romain Grosjean at Lotus in 2014.